[OS X TeX] huge digests full of dreck

Johann Beda j-beda at pobox.com
Tue Sep 17 11:37:57 EDT 2002

On 2002/09/16, "Michael Murray" <mmurray at maths.adelaide.edu.au> wrote:
>On 2002/09/15 or there abouts j-beda at pobox.com wrote:
>>	I hate to sound like a broken record (or maybe a CD?) - but could
>>people please take care when sending email messages to this mailing list
>>(and others)?  The most recent digests have been as much as 50% quoted...
>Just out of interest why  do you use Digests?

	I like the format, and it gives me a bit of a barrier to responding
so that I don't just automatically chime in when I have little to add,
which is what I tend to do when getting individual messages filtered to a
separate folder.  The digests come in once a day and only interrupt my work
at one time, whereas individual messages would do so each time they came
in.  Granted, this shows a bit of my lack of self discipline, but it is not
an uncommon use of digest mode for mailing lists.  If the MacOSX-TeX
mailing list software were to have a MIME-digest mode rather than just a
straight concatenation, I would get the second benefit while still
retaining most of the advantages of individual messages, but it does not.
(Is there any way of enabling MIME-digest mode in the current MacOSX-TeX
mailing list software?)

On 2002/09/16, "Ross Moore" <ross at ics.mq.edu.au> wrote:
>But sure enough, in my previous email to this list I failed to follow item 4.
>above, by leaving in a large amount of quoted source code and .log message.
>I apologise profusely for this.

	Hey, mistakes happen, you just managed to make the error in the
same time frame as a bunch of other people who did essentially the same
thing, and it pushed me over the edge.

>> These can be particularly troubling for those people who read
>> the mailing list digest.
>Does your mailer not allow you to jump to the start of each message
>when you think that you've come to the useful end of the previous one?

	Not in this case.  But even if it did, how could I tell that you
might not have had some profound comment to make in the later quoted
material?  That's the big problem with excessive quoting, one can never be
sure that there is not something that is in there, so there is an incentive
to scan through the whole thing, even if you don't need to do so.  In a
straight digest, most mailers do not give you any other way to get to the
next message.  Are there any Mac OS X mail programs that parse straight
digests?  Eudora for Mac OS 9 and below can use the "Burst" plug-in to
create a mailbox of individual messages, but that doesn't work in Mac OS X.
Do any of the other mail programs handle digest better?

>Remember that every email comes with about 20 lines of header,
>showing how the message was routed to your machine, and much other info.
>Software can, and usually does, hide this. So there *are* ways to avoid
>unwanted stuff.

	Yeah, one of those ways is to subscribe to the digest, which
doesn't include all of the headers and routing and the like for each
individual message.

On 2002/09/16, "Oliver Hardt" <hardt at u.arizona.edu> wrote:
>a digest is probably not the most effective way to
>read this list -- especially if you want to respond to one mail and
>want to quote.

	Fortunately, there has been very little in the way of problems with
excessive quotation from the digest-readers.  Mostly the problems are in
quoting from individual messages.  So maybe making it easy to quote is not
such a universally good thing?

>	and at least for the american list members the equation
>cost=MsgSize*RatePerMin doesn't compute in most, if not all, cases:
>you pay 20 bucks or so per month and can be online as much as you
>like to.

	Somebody pays for each and every bit that goes through the pipes.
And ultimately that someone is the customer.  Double or triple the amount
of email that your ISP carries, and soon that $20 will have to increase.
Maybe if there was no spam and no excessive quoting, it would only be $10?
(Alright, I admit that excessive quoting is no where near the same league
as the problem of junk-email but excessive quoting is being done by good
people who don't recognize the problem whereas spam is being done by bad
people who don't care about the consequences.  We have a chance of
influencing the former at least.)

	Anyhow, I figure I might cause a few people to be upset a few times
per year when I rant about bad formatting.  I think however there is a wide
benefit to people being aware of what is expected mailing list behaviour.
I will attempt to limit my ravings as much as possible...

* Useful comment?  Send me 0.02 <http://598704.clicktwocents.com/> *
* johann beda    <XNSName: =j-beda>    <http://pobox.com/~j-beda/> *

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